Identifying Priority Species for Conservation in Mexico

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1 Identifying Priority Species for Conservation in Mexico 1

2 On its 61 st section, the General Wildlife Act (Ley General de Vida Silvestre, LGVS) establishes that: The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources [ ] will develop the list of priority species and populations for conservation that will be published in the Official Federation Diary (DOF). 2

3 There are two complementary strategies in the international framework for biodiversity conservation: 1)Conservation of natural areas and ecosystems 3

4 2) Wildlife conservation a) Determination of the extinction risk for wildlife species and populations: (MER) NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 b) Implementation of recovery and conservation programs Probably EXTINCT In the wild ENDANGERED THREATENED Under SPECIAL PROTECTION 4

5 Why do we need a priority species list? The concept provides the opportunity to link the two conservation strategies. It is necessary to optimize efforts and maximize conservation outcomes. Is a mandate of the General Wildlife Act 5

6 Criteria to define the priority species concept Section 61 st of the GWA establishes that: Species and populations will be included in the list [of priority species] if they at least follow into one of the following categories: a) Being of strategic importance for the conservation of other species and habitats. b) Being important in maintaining ecosystem structure and function. c) Being endemic and threatened with extinction. d) Being of social, cultural, scientific, or economic interest. 6

7 Charismatic Key species Ecosystem representative Phylogenetic or evolutionary relevance 7

8 Extinction risk Traditional use Economic value 8

9 Such species can be classified as: Umbrella Flag Key At risk socially relevant NOM 9

10 The concept of surrogate (proxy) species: Species that are used to represent other species or aspects of the environment to attain conservation objectives. (Wiens et al., 2008; Caro, 2010). Some practical uses of surrogate species: Identify important areas for conservation. Monitor environmental changes. Inform the design and operation of conservation programs. 10

11 a) Being of strategic importance for the conservation of other species and habitats. b) Being important in maintaining ecosystem structure and function. NOM c) Being endemic and threatened with extinction. d) Being of social, cultural, scientific, or economic interest. 11

12 General goal Identify priority species for biodiversity conservation in Mexico that allow to optimize conservation efforts and maximize benefits towards the conservation of other species, habitats, and ecosystems. 12

13 Specific objectives Compile of a preliminary list of priority species from those species and populations that have been recognized as important from a conservation point of view. Evaluate the list by taxonomic specialists to obtain a hierarchical list. Review and complete the list in a workshop with conservation professionals in order to assess the impact that the selected species may have on the conservation of other species, habitats, and ecosystems. 13

14 Clarification The priority species list does not pretend to be a list of species at risk of extinction (covered by the NOM-059-SEMARNAT- 2010), but one that maximizes conservation efforts. This process is a starting point to comply with section 61 st of the GWA that establishes that the priority species list will be reviewed at least once every three years. 14

15 Methods 1. Compilation of a preliminary list of priority species. 2. Evaluation of the list by taxonomic specialists. 3. Evaluation of the list by conservation and management specialists in a workshop. 15

16 Wildlife Conservation and Productive Diversification in the Rural Sector Program (DGVS-SEMARNAP, 1997) National Wildlife Strategy. Achievements and Challenges for Sustainable Development (INE, 2000) Priority Species Recovery Programs (SEMARNAT) PROCER and PACE (CONANP, 2009) Proposals with technical elements (ej. Sánchez, 2011; Berlanga, com. pers., 2011) NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 At this first stage the list was composed by 302 species 16

17 Six criteria were defined to evaluate different aspects of each species and subspecies (values: 1-5 points in each criterion). Criterion A Criterion B Criterion C Criterion D Criterion E Criterion F The species can effectively contribute to the conservation of other species, habitats, or ecosystems The species can contribute to the conservation of key or irreplaceable ecological processes The species enjoys social recognition due to its economical importance as driver for conservation The species is of emblematic or cultural importance The species is endangered, phylogenetically unique, or endemic to Mexico, which implies a risk of extinction within years The species recovery is viable within years and can lead to synergy of national or international conservation agreements or programs 17

18 Cycads Conifers Agaves Orchids Palms Cactus PLANTS Magnoliopsida (various families) Corals ANIMALS Freshwater fish Marine fish Amphibians Reptiles Birds and monarch butterfly Mammals Participation of 111 specialists from 37 institutions. Each criterion was evaluated with the following values: 1= Very low 2= Low 3= Medium 4= High 5= Very high From the 111 surveys sent, 46 technical evaluations were received from 12 of the 14 plant and animal groups 18

19 To classify the species according to the results, the resulting interval score (6 to 30 pts) was divided in thirds. Thus, three priority hierarchies were defined: Score Hierarchy 30 to 22.1 High priority 22 to 14.1 Medium priority 14 to 6 Low priority 19

20 Additional species suggested by the specialists were analyzed At this point of the analysis, the list grew from 302 species and subspecies to 415 Final scores for all species were averaged Hierarchy was applied: a) Within each taxonomic group b) To all evaluated species and subspecies in order to compare them directly. 20

21 3. 1. Analyze the results of the evaluations developed by the taxonomic specialists 2. Select a list of higher priority species that can optimize the conservation efforts while maximizing the benefits towards other species, habitats, and ecosystems. 3. Identify strategic approaches to optimize the use of the priority species list. 21

22 40 experts in design and management of conservation strategies participated in the workshop Thematic round tables Plants Aquatic animals Amphibians and reptiles Birds (and monarch butterfly) Mammals - Ecosystems - Geographic coverage - Ecoregions - Consensus The proposed species were analyzed within a broad strategic perspective according to the hierarchical categories (high, medium, and low). Results of these analyses were compared with those obtained during the survey and each round table compiled a synthesis to prioritize the species. Whenever taxonomically related species had similar evaluations, they were grouped together. 22

23 Results Priority species proposed by the experts: 483* Priority hierarchy for the species in the list: Priority hierarchy for conservation Number of species High priority 319 Medium priority 129 Low priority 35 Total 483* *The genus Ipomoea (with species to be defined) needs to be considered as high priority 23

24 Plantae Kingdom Phylum Class Priority category Total Cycadophyta Cycadopsida High 43 Medium 3 Coniferophyta Pinopsida High 14 Medium 1 Pteridophyta Filicopsida High 3 Magnoliophyta Liliopsida High 25 Medium 20 Low 3 Magnoliopsida High 32 Medium 28 Total Plantae 172 Floristic estimations in Mexico oscillate between 22,000 and 31,000 species* * (Rzedowski, 1991; Toledo, 1993; Villaseñor, 2003, 2004) 24

25 Kingdom Phylum Class Priority category Total Animalia Cnidaria Anthozoa High 2 Arthropoda Insecta High 1 Number of species described for Bivalvia High 2 Mexico oscillate*: Mollusca Gastropoda High 7 Echinodermata Echinoidea High 1 Invertebrate non-arthropods 7,252-7,452 Arthropods 47,768-47,853 Terrestrial vertebrates 5,488 Amphibians 361 Reptiles 804 Birds 1096 Mammals 535 (terrestrial and marine) Freshwater, marine and estuarine fishes 2,692 Chordata Craniata Petromyzontida Medium 1 High 7 Chondrichthyes Medium 2 Low 3 Actinopterygii Amphibia Reptilia Aves High 46 Medium 24 Low 6 High 12 Low 6 High 34 Medium 5 Low 3 High 60 Medium 41 Low 7 High 30 *(CONABIO, 2008) Mammalia Medium 4 Low 7 Total Animalia

26 Some species were listed individually whereas other were grouped. It was recommended to give individual attention to 205 species and subspecies (128 high priority). 29 groups include 278 species (plus one genus for which species need to be defined) Plants Group Proposed group name Species per group 1 Burseras 3 2 Cactus 30 Lophophora 2 3 Cycads 46 4 Ficus 10 5 Arborescent Ipomoeas TBD 6 Orchids 35 Aquatic animals Group Proposed group name Species per group 7 Abalones 5 8 Corals 2 26

27 Amphibians Group Proposed group name Species per group 9 Agalychnis 2 10 Ambystomatidae 5 11 Endemic Lithobates 5 Reptiles Group Proposed group name Species per group 12 Crocodylia 3 13 Crotalus 9 14 Gopherus 3 15 Iguanidae Sea turtles 6 Birds Group Proposed group name Species per group 17 Neotropical eagles 4 18 Pelagic birds Turkeys 2 20 Endemic yellowthroats 3 21 Ducks and geese Psittacids 21 Mammals Group Proposed group name Species per group 23 Whales 4 24 Carnivore pinnipeds 4 25 Cervids 4 26 Lagomorphs 7 27 Bats 2 28 Odontocetos 2 29 Primates 3 27

28 Next steps Other groups of species that were identified as relevant need to be analyzed in the next three years is to fill important taxonomic and geographic gaps. They include: Marine invertebrates Crustaceans Fungi Marine, freshwater, and coastal plants Other bat species 28

29 In synthesis The proposed species list is the result of expert knowledge and systematic work. 483 species and subspecies* of plants and animals are included (320 high priority, 129 medium priority and 35 low priority). 29 groups of species in the list include a total of 278 species*. the rest 205 species are listed individually (*plus one genus with species to be defined) 29

30 Thank you! Gracias! To all experts that participated in the survey and workshop, for their extraordinary disposition to contribute with their knowledge during the process. To the members of each institution that participated at some stage of the process: CONABIO Patricia Koleff Bárbara Ayala Humberto Berlanga Adriana Valera CONANP Oscar Ramírez Lizardo Cruz Patricia Miranda INE Margarita Caso Elvia de la Cruz Karina Santos DGVS-SEMARNAT Antonio Fuentes Ricardo Hernández Independent consultant Óscar Sánchez 30

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